We’ve had a few snowy days recently and it’s the sort of weather that makes me want to bake. Not that I don’t like snow, but it has been a bit too cold to have the kids (and me) out for too long. And our kitchen gets so cold, having the oven on helps warm it up too. A great excuse, right? I’ve been thinking recently about foods for Nowruz, and I came across lots of tasty-looking cookies, including these Persian walnut cookies, nan-e gerdui. I definitely wasn’t disappointed with my choice, these are so good.
A Nowruz treat
These Persian walnut cookies have so much going for them. First of all, they’re easy to make, only four ingredients and naturally gluten free. Then when you try them they are deliciously sweet and nutty as you might expect, but also have a lovely combination of a dry, almost crisp outside and slightly chewy middle. They are one of a number of cookies that are traditionally made for Nowruz, the Persian New Year. As I found out in this article, apparently legend has it that King Jamshid discovered sugar on Nowruz, so cookies and candies have become a common part of the celebration. Plus the word candy actually comes from the Persian word for sugar, qand.
Just as many Americans tend to cook many different Christmas cookies, those who celebrate Nowruz will often cook a few different Persian cookies. Many, like these walnut cookies are pretty simple using nuts or other non-wheat flours (eg chickpea, rice), eggs, sugar and a spice or two. Since we liked these so much, I think I’m going to have to try some of the others in due course. I’m also working on some recipes for some savory Norwuz recipes, to go with the dolmeh barge mo I already shared.
How they’re made
As with most traditional recipes, these walnut cookies have a few variations. Some flavor with vanilla, others cardamon Some grind the walnuts finely, others use pieces. I have gone with a fairly simple version where you grind the walnuts in a food processor. Separately, you whisk together the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla then add the ground walnuts. Scoop the mixture in teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet then top with chunks of walnut. Bake then let them cool before diving in. See this video to walk you through it:
These Persian walnut cookies are easy to make and such a delicious mix of nuttiness, a dry outside and slightly chewy middle. A wonderful treat for any occasion.
- 1 cup/130g walnut pieces
- 2 egg yolks
- 3tbsp/40g sugar
- ½tsp vanilla extract
- a few walnut pieces to top
- Preheat oven to 300F/150C and line a large baking sheet.
- Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they're coarsely ground.
- Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla for a few minutes until the mixture becomes paler and almost creamy.
- Mix in the ground walnuts and stir until well combined.
- Take small spoonfuls (heaped teaspoonfuls) of the mixture and put on a baking sheet, with around 1in/2.5cm or more between them. Smooth off the pieces of dough so they are fairly round and gently press a piece of walnut into the top of each cookie.
- Bake for approx 15min until lightly brown. Leave them to cool on the baking sheet a few minutes as they will be a little soft.